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10 December 1999
The Federal Government has called on Queensland's Premier, Peter Beattie, to show exactly how much his Government is willing to commit in compensation for landholders affected by its new vegetation legislation.
Federal Minister for the Environment, Senator Robert Hill, and Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss, today said the Queensland Government has so far refused to provide any commitment on their part to funding compensation.
Senator Hill said Queensland's stance in refusing to provide any funding for compensation was in stark contrast to the responsibility accepted by other States in relation to land management issues.
"Premier Beattie's position is inconsistent with the principle that the State must accept primary responsibility for natural resource management," Senator Hill said.
"In order for the Commonwealth Government to consider supplementary support, Queensland must first provide evidence of a real commitment to ensure that landholders affected by its decisions today are treated in a fair way.
"Mr Beattie told Queensland Parliament that he was committed to delivering a balanced outcome for compensation. However that balance is currently tipped totally to the Federal Government, without any commitment from Queensland."
Mr Truss said the Queensland Government has found money already for an expensive advertising campaign to publicise its legislation, but is unwilling to commit to compensation.
"Mr Beattie is already using State taxpayers money for expensive metropolitan TV and full-page newspaper advertising but he is reluctant to compensate Queensland farmers from their loss of rights on freehold land," Mr Truss said.
Mr Truss said that while the Federal Government would listen to whatever Queensland was proposing, it rejects any ambit claims or requests for funding laws which were fundamentally unfair to farmers.
"It is clear that Mr Beattie has put the cart before the horse in passing legislation without having properly explored the issue of funding compensation for farmers.
"It is time for Mr Beattie to put his money where his mouth is."
Senator Hill's office - Rod Bruem 0419 258 364
Warren Truss' office - Andrew Hall 0419 996 766